Starbucks' decision to close 8,000 company-owned stores on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education for its employees is a dramatic statement about the reputational and legal risks of unconscious bias. This measure comes on the heels of news of mistreatment of two black men at one of its Philadelphia stores.
The men, who protested they were waiting for a friend and refused a manager's request to leave the Philadelphia coffee shop, were arrested by police and released without charge.The ensuing Twitter storm and global news coverage led to a swift apology and a call for unconscious bias training by the mayor of Philadelphia as well as Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. “The incident was reprehensible,” Johnson said in a statement. “Starbucks plans to investigate the pertinent facts and make any necessary changes to our practices that would help prevent such an occurrence from ever happening again.
Unconscious bias leads to assumptions and decisions that can constitute illegal discrimination against customers or employees. You can train yourself and your team understand and minimize bias with a recent Avant Resources recorded training. Learn more here: